Closing the digital divide at home
Does having computer access at home make a difference for students? Many educators think so.
In my story today on the technology gap, I wrote about efforts to equip students with computers at home. It's an expensive undertaking. Many school systems struggle to provide computers in the classroom, let alone at home. That's where programs like Computers For Students enter the picture. The Howard County-based program will provide 100 Howard County students with home computers this school year. Parents, students, and educators alike praise programs like this agree that it helps with student achievement.
Great strides have been made when it comes to providing computer access to students in school. In 1996, the state's student-computer ratio was 16-to-1. Last year, the ratio closed to 3.4-to-1.
Around the state the number of students with computer access in the home varies greatly. At 88 percent, Howard County leads the state, and Baltimore City is the lowest at 43 percent.
What do you think? Is it the school system's responsibility to provide students with computers in the home? Or is it a luxury item that parents should be expected to purchase on their own? And is it necessary for students to have computers at home in order to be successful in the classroom?